Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber shared the screen Tuesday night in the all-new episode of NCIS. Although the episode marked her debut on the fan-favorite CBS police procedural, Dawber revealed that this was not the first time she had been approached to appear on the series. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly just after "Gut Punched" aired, Dawber dished all the details about why she finally agreed to join the series and what it was like working alongside her husband.
According to the actress, who fans may be familiar with from her role on Mork & Mindy, "they have come at me a few times" to get her to make a cameo. Dawber said she turned down the offers because "either I just didn't want to do it or I didn't appreciate what it was they wanted me to do. Or it was near Christmas and it was like, 'I can't do this. I've got my parents coming into town.'" She added that she hasn't "been interested in…chasing the business" and that "at this age…you'd have to really want it. I just don't want to put myself out anymore." Dawber said she had a change of heart; however, after they created her character, Marcie Warren, a seasoned investigative journalist set to appear in a four-episode arc, and Harmon put her name in the running to be cast.
"Suddenly I have an email from my agent and I was like, 'Oh, poor Harry, my poor agent, here we go again. I'm going to turn him down.' And he goes, 'Well, you might want to read this.' I guess they were running names for who they could bring in for it and Mark said, 'You should be talking to my wife about this character,'" she said. "The character is so good. I just fell in love with what they wrote. And then I had anxiety like, "Oh my God, am I going to do this?"
Opening up about what it was like working alongside her husband, whom she has been married to since 1987, Dawber said Harmon "is so supportive" of her and "just a giving, great guy." She said that Harmon, who stars as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, "just gives me attagirls." She also reflected on their characters' relationship, quipping, "it's fun because Gibbs grunts out a lot of lines. He doesn't give a lot. So they go toe-to-toe. He frustrates the hell out of Marcie." Dawber described Gibbs and Marcie's relationship as an "oddball" one "where they're checking each other out. She doesn't understand whether is he a truth-teller. Is this guy for real? And he's thinking sort of the same thing about her." She also dashed any hope that their real-life romance could transcend to the screen, revealing she "talked to the writers and the producers before I signed on and said, 'If this is a romantic interest, I'm not interested.' They said not at all; that's not where we're going with this."
New episodes of NCIS air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Fans can catch up on all episodes of the series on Paramount+. The recently launched streaming service, which was previously known as CBS All Access, is also the streaming home for two NCIS spinoffs, NCIS: New Orleans (all episodes) and NCIS: Los Angeles (recent episodes).